Enjoy nature and at the same time, get some good exercise by backpacking. If you are a beginner in this kind of activity, it is important to know what kind of equipment or gear you need to carry with you on your journey. Bringing along plenty of unnecessary stuff can make this undertaking difficult while forgetting something important can prove to be disadvantageous too.
The solution here is to pack as light as you can and buy gear that will make your journey safe and pleasant.
Essential Backpacking Gear
There are several pretty basic necessities that each and every backpacker needs to take care of from the get-go. The items mentioned below will play a key role in your safety and wellbeing. Backpackers must create a checklist of these details for easier organization.
A proper backpack will fit you comfortably over your shoulders. It is also the easiest means of carrying your things. Shoulder straps that are well-padded will add comfort during long treks.
A daypack will be a lot smaller and most won’t have an internal frame for support. Try to buy a daypack with a waist strap for better support and less weight on the shoulder.
A multiple days backpack is generally over 50 liters of size and the good ones have an internal frame and a waist strap.
There are even several models with locks on them which can be strapped around the waist and others with additional pockets to keep your necessities organized and within easy reach.
Maps and compass or hiking GPS
For extra precaution, it is crucial that you bring along with you a copy of an updated map and a compass. Keep in mind that some hiking spots do not have cellphone services so a map or compass can be helpful.
Backpackers must take note of the route or track that they are planning to undertake prior to the hike so they can easily look through the map if required.
The compass will help thwart backpackers from trekking off the track which can easily take place in areas like the rough country.
You can opt for using modern technology as well. A hiking GPS will direct you easily to your next destination or follow your hiking route. Always take the classic map and compass with you, but normally everybody follows the hiking GPS.
Do not forget to include a water bottle, water bag or some kind of hydration system in your supplies. Look for hydration packs, which allows easy access during hikes. If you are looking for affordable options, a plastic water bottle will do. However, they can crack and split easily so it’s wise that you invest on something more durable that you can take on plenty of hikes.
Weather protection gear
Pack rain gear with you, like a jacket if you are going to backpack around areas with unpredictable or rainy weather. You can take your pick between a jacket, poncho, pants or hat.
If you have plans to backpack on areas with higher elevation, you should dress up in layers to keep warm. Create a system depending on the kind of surroundings; go for wool socks, gloves, a knitted hat, long-johns and a pullover or a lightweight jacket. You should also bring along at least two sets of clothes like extra tees and shorts.
Backpacking in areas with warmer climes or hikes done in summer usually entail a couple of extra tees and pairs of shorts plus a water-resistant jacket or lightweight windbreaker.
Heavy, bulky hiking boots are not always recommended for treks, especially if you are planning a trek in the summer.
If the trail isn’t too demanding, simple hiking shoes will do it. On rougher terrain and normally on overnight hikes, you need to find a pair of proper hiking boots with support at the ankle.
However, if need be, do not try to borrow or even rent a pair of boots because they need to fit your feet properly to prevent blister growth.
Food and water
As mentioned above, bringing along a good water bottle is a must. Backpackers should stay hydrated during a hike and they should store enough water in their packs to replenish lost fluids. As for edible items, pack food that will not go bad easily like nuts, dried fruits, energy bars, granola or trail mix.
More Useful Backpacking Items
Apart from the major items, here are some things which can prove handy during a hike.
- Swiss army knife or any multi-use knife
- Sun protection: Sunscreen and lip protection with a high SPF should be considered. Also, bring a hat or a pair of sunglasses if you plan on hiking hot, dry trails.
- Mini repair kit: This should include items like safety pins, a small roll of duct tape, patches for rain gear or tents, a thick sewing needle plus durable thread, spare items like shoelaces, cord and sealing compound.
- First-Aid kit: Make sure that you have a ready supply of prescription medicines on hand. Also, first-aid commercial kits can be changed according to your needs.
- Additional zipper-lock bags: Keep gadgets such as cameras and cellphones in this bag to protect them from getting damp.
- Bug repellent
- Bandanna: It acts as a multi-tasking item since it can be used to hold hot pots at camp, can be used as a handkerchief, a bandage or as a sweatband.
- Walking sticks
Take note that the list described from above is a simplified backpacking list. Trekking in places like the high mountains, the desert, snowy and wintry regions will require more specific, sophisticated items. Check out some of the great hiking trails in the US or even in the world. In addition, once a backpacker’s skill level progresses, his or her list of necessities changes as well to fit changing priorities and approaches.